There is no alternative

"There is no alternative" (TINA) is a political slogan arguing that capitalism is the only viable system. The slogan is strongly associated with the policies and persona of the Conservative British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.[1]

A 1994 Christian Democratic Union poster with the slogan Es gibt keine Alternative ("There is no alternative")

History of use edit

19th century edit

Historically, the phrase may be traced to its emphatic use by the 19th-century classical liberal thinker and Social-Darwinist Herbert Spencer in his Social Statics.[2][non-primary source needed]

Thatcher edit

In a speech to the Conservative Women's Conference on 21 May 1980, Thatcher appealed to the notion saying, "We have to get our production and our earnings into balance. There's no easy popularity in what we are proposing but it is fundamentally sound. Yet I believe people accept there's no real alternative." Later in the speech, she returned to the theme: "What's the alternative? To go on as we were before? All that leads to is higher spending. And that means more taxes, more borrowing, higher interest rates more inflation, more unemployment."[3]

The slogan was often used by Thatcher.[citation needed][4] The phrase is used to signify Thatcher's claim that the market economy is the best, right and only system that works, and that debate about this is over. One critic characterized the meaning of the slogan as: "Globalised capitalism, so called free markets and free trade were the best ways to build wealth, distribute services and grow a society's economy. Deregulation's good, if not God."[5] By contrast, Thatcher described her support of markets as flowing from a more basic moral argument; specifically, she argued that the market-principle of choice flows from the moral principle that for human behavior to be moral requires free choice by people.[4]

2010s austerity edit

Angela Merkel's use of the term alternativlos (literally "alternative-less"; without alternative) in relation to her responses to the European sovereign-debt crisis in 2010 led to the term becoming "un-word of the year".[6]

In 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron resurrected the phrase, stating "If there was another way I would take it. But there is no alternative"—referring to austerity in the United Kingdom.[7]

Criticism edit

Opponents of the principle used it in a derisory manner. For instance, cabinet minister Norman St John-Stevas, one of the leading "wets", nicknamed Thatcher "Tina", after the acronym TINA.[8] The critic of globalization Susan George coined the opposing slogan "another world is possible" in 2001.[9][10]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Robinson, Nick (7 March 2013). "Economy: There is no alternative (TINA) is back". BBC News. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  2. ^ Spencer, Herbert (1851). Social Statics. John Chapman. pp. 42, 307.
  3. ^ Thatcher, Margaret (21 May 1980). "Speech to Conservative Women's Conference". Margaret Thatcher Foundation. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  4. ^ a b Berlinski, Claire (8 November 2011). There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters (2nd ed.). Basic Books. ISBN 978-0465031214.
  5. ^ Flanders, Laura (12 April 2013). "At Thatcher's Funeral, Bury TINA, Too". The Nation. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  6. ^ Schlosser, Horst Dieter (18 January 2011). "Zum 20. Mal 'Unwort des Jahres' gewählt" (PDF) (Press release) (in German). Sprachkritische Aktion Unwort des Jahres. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 January 2018. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
  7. ^ Robinson, Nick (7 March 2013). "Economy: TINA is back". BBC News. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  8. ^ "Lord St John of Fawsley, former Tory minister, dies at 82". The Guardian. 5 March 2012. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 3 April 2024.
  9. ^ "Another World Is Possible". Dissent Magazine. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  10. ^ "Marx from the Margins: A Collective Project, from A to Z" (PDF). Krisis (2). 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 September 2020. Retrieved 28 October 2020.

External links edit